Mahtie Bush is older, wiser, doper

The local rapper grows up, finds love for Sacto hip-hop

Happy in the 916.

Happy in the 916.


Catch Mahtie Bush with Kham Raw at 10 p.m. Friday, September 4, at the Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Boulevard. Tickets cost $10. Learn more at

He's probably best known for his “Sac Hates Hip-Hop” days, but now Mahtie Bush laughs at the mention of that 2007 movement.

“I grew up, I’m not so mad anymore,” Bush says, now a wise 33 years old. “I had the right idea, I was just a little too harsh. At the same time, shit changed.”

Sac Hates Hip-Hop used mixtapes, fliers, T-shirts and live performances to spread the message that Sacramento’s venues, radio stations and media, well, hated hip-hop. It wound up shining a spotlight on Bush, including a feature in big-deal hip-hop magazine The Source. Since then, he’s dropped two full-length albums and countless mixtapes. And he’s made it on the radio—at last, local hip-hop is getting its day on the airwaves and in venues.

Now, Bush has a son. He lives in a suburban home. He was very careful to get a “dope-ass kitchen,” with pristine granite countertops and all. While working at local restaurants, Bush has discovered his passion for cooking.

He recently inherited a textbook from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. And a pasta maker. Food porn studs his Instagram—his last trip to Las Vegas included meals at the revered restaurants of Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay.

“I’ve been dying to go there because, I mean, it’s Gordon Ramsay,” he says, adding that his lobster Wellington was “insane.”

This is all to say that Bush has reached a new point in his life. Call it growing up or whatever—Bush relishes in these fun times.

It’s evident on his newest EP No Days Off. The collaboration with fellow local rapper Kahm Raw will be released at the Blue Lamp on Friday, September 4. No, no, he doesn’t rap about food like Action Bronson. Rather, No Days Off is the most radio-friendly, catchy music Bush has ever made—that signature “boom-bap” sound is gone, for now at least. What would young, Backpackramento-era Bush think?

“It would have been weird … but now, no,” he says. “I’m older, and I like that music. I never shied away from it.”

On No Days Off, Bush doesn’t get political or rap about his childhood in foster care. There’s a time and place for that—his next full-length album, in fact—and No Days Off is a product of semispontaneously collaborating with a longtime friend.

“This honestly let me open up about the other side of me,” Bush says. “When I go to Vegas, I go to clubs. I have fun. And everything sounds a lot more lavish and glamorous when I say I was on the strip in a Hummer.”

That bit about the Hummer is true, but definitely not Bush’s norm—it was the night of his bachelor party.

All of these collaborations—Bush is also working on an EP with Los Angeles rapper Chino XL and another with Reno’s DJ Ethik—are ultimately helping Bush with his next solo record, he says.

“I’m writing way better, way more. I feel like I’m getting more clever with lyrics—it’s not so blunt,” Bush says. “It’s making me touch on my past and my childhood a lot more, be more open about my family life. All the projects have helped—it’s therapy.”

For now, he’ll keep tinkering with recipes in his playground of a kitchen. Real talk: Does anyone know how to duplicate Gordon Ramsay’s lobster Wellington?